Commonly referred to as laser vision correction or laser eye surgery, LASIK which stands for laser-assisted in Situ Keratomileusis, is an eye surgery which uses lasers or microkeratomes to reshape a cornea and improve visual acuity. The technique was originally developed in the 1950s by Spanish ophthalmologist Jose Barraquer and has been improved on by several contributors over the years before it was approved in the U.S. in 1998 by the FDA.
Since it offers a permanent alternative to wearing glasses or contact lenses, it has become quite a popular solution for people with less than perfect eyesight. As a matter of fact, over 596,000 people had LASIK surgery in the U.S. in 2015 alone; this number is on a steady rise and expected to hit 720,000 surgeries a year by 2020. Those of you who have heard of the correctional surgery most likely have a family member or friend who shared their experience with you. Even so, the process can seem confusing and mysterious until you decide to take the journey on your own.
Here are a couple of lesser-known facts about LASIK that might help you make your decision on whether it’s the right course of treatment for you.
LASIK can correct several vision issues such as farsightedness (hyperopia), nearsightedness (myopia), or irregularly-shaped corneas (astigmatism).
That being said, there are some factors which may prevent you from being a viable candidate for LASIK surgery. For example, something simple such as having severely dry eyes or something more serious like a degenerative eye disease such as keratoconus can prevent your doctor from performing LASIK on you.
Completely unrelated diseases and conditions like rheumatoid arthritis, lupus, multiple sclerosis, autoimmune diseases, and even psoriasis may also disqualify you from being a prime candidate for the surgery. It’s important to know that each individual is different and that the best way to start your LASIK journey would be to talk to your doctor about your conditions and discuss in detail the effects that LASIK may have on you.
What most people don’t realize is how easy and fast the surgery truly is. In fact, you’ll most likely spend more time talking to your surgeon before and after the surgery than the actual amount of time you’ll be operated on. On average, surgeons spend approximately three to five minutes on each eye. This is one of the main reasons that the surgery is completely outpatient and that you’ll experience almost no discomfort during the surgery. That’s right…
Being such a short and painless surgery, no general sedation is required for LASIK. It might seem crazy to undergo something as delicate as eye surgery while being completely awake, but there is no risk; in fact, the lack of general anesthesia significantly cuts down on the post-op recovery time.
Your surgeon will use numbing drops to completely temporarily deaden the surface of your eyes. You won’t have to worry about your eyes moving during the procedure because the state-of-the-art technology includes an eye tracker which ensures accurate and safe delivery of the laser. You’ll be completely aware of the procedure and your surroundings without the fear or pain you may associate with surgery.
It’s astonishing but several patients see an improvement in their eyesight before they even get off the operating table. Most doctors ask their patients to look at a target, which most find much more in focus once the procedure wraps up. Not only will your vision be noticeably better post-surgery, you’ll find that it continuously improves for the following week or two.
Doctors do suggest resting for the rest of the day and there are certain restrictions such as no rubbing your eyes or applying eye makeup so that your corneas can heal completely. Other than that, post-operative care is minimal, and chances are you’ll most likely be able to drive yourself to your follow-up appointment the following day.
Over 99% of the people who undergo LASIK surgery end up with a 20/40 vision or better. The success rates are incredibly impressive, especially given the simplicity of the procedure itself. After you’ve done the research and realized that it’s what you want, have a discussion with your doctor to confirm that LASIK is right for you. With LASIK, you can literally improve your eyesight with the blink of an eye.